NBC’s Treasure Hunters debuted last night, could be the sleeper hit of the summer

NBC debuts its new competion reality series Treasure Hunters last night. The show is a race between teams to find seven artificats that lead to a hidden treasure; think The Amazing Race meets the movie National Treasure.

Despite the blatant product-whoring, the show has successfully taken The Amazing Race‘s format to the next level. However, the two-hour premiere didn’t really have the same tension or energy as CBS’ show. It’s actually kind of slow, in part due to the soundtrack, which often just reverts to a beat instead of full-blown orchestrations. And interview segments are inserted in a way that causes the show to nearly stop dead.

The cast has also yet to make an impression, perhaps because there are too many people (10 teams of three), and perhaps because they’re identified by now-conventional reality TV stereotypes. Miss USA contestants! A hypocritical man of God! The funniest team so far is called the Wild Hanlons, particularly mullett-wearing Pat, who’s particularly fond of looking for clues in completely random places and making idiotic pronocumcents about what the answer must be, all while ignoring his son, who came up with the correct answer hours earlier.

If the cast and editing can live up to the format, NBC could have a summer hit on its hands. But the debut episode wasn’t watched by many people because it was up against basketball, and a repeat of the premiere plus the second episode got bumped from tonight’s lineup for hockey. The show resumes next Monday in its normal timeslot, at 9 p.m. ET.

Treasure Hunters [NBC]